June 22, 2013

Facebook Posts Used as Evidence in Lukwago Hearing

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire leading the tribunal into a petition asking for the removal of Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire leading the tribunal into a petition asking for the removal of Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago

The tribunal hearing Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)  councillor’s accusations against Lord Mayor Erias Lukagwo has today entered day two with its proceedings without the Lord Mayor’s presence or his legal team.

Mayor Lukwago was yesterday admitted to Case Clinic after engaging into a scuffle with the police filled with live bullets and teargas downtown before appearing briefly before the tribunal chairperson Catherine Bamugemereire, a high court Judge, for hearings against him to begin.

Before the Judge, Lukwago appealed for excuse to seek medical attention from his doctors. He then left with his lawyers including Busiro MP Medard Lubega Ssegona, Caleb Alaka after being refused to cross examine the witnesses by Bamugemereire.

The tribunal of three members was set up by the Minister for Presidency and Kampala Capital City (KCC) Frank Tumwebaze after being petitioned by over 17 councillors on 15th May passing a resolution to remove the lord mayor from office on grounds of abuse of Office, incompetence, misconduct and misbehaviour.

Today the tribunal has heard from other two witnesses including Kyazze Adam Kassim, a Kampala youth councillor and Achan Joyce Ondoga representing people with disabilities from Mutungo. Yesterday the Tribunal heard from the chief petitioner Byaruhanga Bruhan from Kyambogo Institute.

Achan Joyce Ondoga, a chairperson of the KCCA Revenue Committee, accused Lukwago for constantly using the social media to protest the 120,000shs fees that the committee agreed on together with UTODA and DAKA as levies to be paid by Taxi Drivers and also inciting the drivers into not paying the fees advocating for a lower fee of 70,000 shs.

Achan alleged that UTODA and DACCA agreed in a meeting with the Revenue Committee to pay the fee before the lord mayor incited the drivers into not paying.

However when asked by the lead Council Daniel Rutiba whether the committee had formally notified Lukwago on the agreement about the fee, Achan said that they had not formally informed the Mayor but they talked on phone.

Amusing to the Tribunal, Achan brought a printed statement  allegedly written by Lukwago on his facebook wall telling drivers not to pay the set fee proposing a fee of 70,000shs which Justice Bamugemereire refused to take as an evidence saying that the tribunal would take it as a statement but not evidence.
Previously Court ruled in drivers favour not to pay the fees levied by KCCA saying that they were not constitution but after some time the Minister in Charge of KCC Frank Tumwebaze directed that the fees should be paid.

Councillor Kyazze accused the Lord Mayor for using National days with celebrations citing the Liberation Day to invite politicians citing Kizza Besigye to visit KCCA projects in the city instead of joining in the celebrations which he said is abuse of office by the mayor since these visits end up being chaotic.

On this particular visit along Nakivubo channel, Kyazze said that Lukwago’s actions with other politicians claimed a life of a policeman called Ariong who was allegedly stoned to death.
However Justice Bamugemereire said that the Mayor is not compelled to attend any National Day celebrations because it depends on some one’s political ideology or lineage.

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